2006 was a great year for hip-hop. Though we were just settling into the new millennium, the genre's hottest MCs like Clipse, The Game and Snoop Dogg, to name a few, were pushing the boundaries and pumping out albums -- many becoming classic material.

Early on in the year, famed producer/rapper J Dilla dropped his seventh studio album, the highly acclaimed Donuts. Arriving on his 32nd birthday, the 31-track Stones Throw release would be the last full-length project that the Detroit beatsmith would drop while he was still alive. Dilla sadly died from heart complications related to lupus and TTP three days later on Feb. 10, 2006.

Chicago's own Lupe Fiasco made a splash on the scene with his cosmic, layered debut album, Food & Liquor, in September. With production credits from Kanye West, The Neptunes, Charles "Chilly" Patton and Jay Z, young Lupe's major label coming out party gave birth to some of his best singles: "Kick, Push," "Day Dreamin'" "Hurt Me Soul" and "The Cool," just to name a few.

Already a titan in the music world, a 36-year-old Jay Z dropped his ninth studio album, Kingdom Come, in December, his unofficial "comeback album" after proclaiming he was retiring from rap in 2003, with the drop of The Black Album. Kingdom Come debuted at No. 1 Billboard 200 and sold over 600,000 units in its first week.

And right as the year was coming to a close, Queens' king Nas gave the game a wake-up call with his eighth studio effort, Hip Hop Is Dead. The title alone shocked and intrigued fans to listen to Nas' unhinged critique of rap and America as a whole. Other MCs like Ludacris, Trick Daddy and Young Jeezy saw it as a shot at Southern hip-hop. This controversy, mixed with sentimental singles like "Can't Forget About You," drove the LP to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

Check out these 20 albums celebrating their hard-earned hip-hop tenure in 2016. Feel free to dig up your iPod nano and relive these bars for extra nostalgic value.

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